Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, one of the largest meatpacking companies in the U.S., reported second quarter earnings that missed analyst expectations in several key metrics due to challenges posed by COVID-19. Shares fell 4% in after-hours trading on Wednesday.
The Colorado-based company reported a loss of $6 million, or 2 cents per share, in the second quarter, compared with a profit of $170 million, or 68 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Pilgrim’s Pride posted a revenue of $2.82 billion in the April to June quarter, a .7% decrease from the same period last year. The results fell short of Wall Street consensus estimates of $2.93 billion revenue and a gain of 12 cents per share.
“Despite the continuing volatility and very challenging markets in Q2 due to Covid-19, our diversified strategy has continued to produce respectable results in relative performance to industry competition, and deliver more resilient performance regardless of changes in specific market conditions,” interim CEO Fabio Sandri said.
As of July 17, there have been at least 33,500 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 363 plants in 38 states, and at least 133 reported worker deaths at at least 43 plants in 24 states, according to tracking by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.
Though the spread of COVID-19 roiled the supply chain and decreased sales, Sandri expressed optimism about rebounding markets and stronger demand following loosening travel restrictions and the country’s reopening. U.K. and Europe net sales in the second quarter increased by $221.3 million, or 41.3%, compared with the same period the previous year, but were offset by falling U.S. and Mexico sales.
The indictment of Pilgrim’s Pride CEO Jayson Penn added to the volatility of the quarter. Penn and three other poultry industry executives were indicted by a federal grand jury in early June for conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens. Penn will plead not guilty and took a leave of absence to focus on his defense.